Tor cairn 70m WNW of Branscombe's Loaf forming part of a cemetery on Corn Ridge summit
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007833
Date first listed: 19-May-1994
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
Parish: Lands common to the Parishes of Bridestowe and Sourton
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 55237 89161
Reasons for Designation
Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and,
because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most
complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The
great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provides direct evidence
for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards.
The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites,
land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later
industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the
pattern of land use through time.
Tor cairns are ceremonial monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age
(c.2000-1000 BC). They were constructed as ring banks of stone rubble, up to
35m in external diameter, sometimes with entrances and external ditches, and
roughly concentric around natural outcrops or tors. In some cases a kerb of
edge-set stones bounded the inner edge of the bank, and the area between the
bank and the outcrop was sometimes in-filled by laying down a platform of
stone rubble or turves. Excavated examples have revealed post-holes and pits
within the area defined by the ring-bank, some containing burial evidence, and
scatters of Bronze Age artefacts concentrated around the central tor. Tor
cairns usually occur as isolated monuments, though several are associated with
broadly contemporary cairn cemeteries. They are very rare nationally with only
40-50 known examples concentrated on the higher moors of Devon and Cornwall,
where their situation in prominent locations makes them a major visual element
in the modern landscape. As a rare monument type, all surviving examples are
considered worthy of preservation.
The tor cairn 70m WNW of Branscombe's Loaf survives comparatively well and contains important archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was erected. This cairn forms part of a cairn cemetery containing two round cairns, two tor cairns and types of ring cairn. Such a diverse range of cairn types within a single cemetery is unusual.
This monument includes a tor cairn situated on the summit of Corn Ridge. The
cairn includes two banks of small to medium-sized stones, associated with a
large rock-outcrop. The outer bank survives as a 12m-long, 1.2m-wide and 0.3m-
high, curving rubble spread following the southern and western edges of the
outcrop. The inner ring measures 1.3m wide, 0.3m high and corresponds with the
northern edge of the outcrop, but also extends over the rock itself which
stands up to 3m high. The area enclosed by the ring-banks measures 15m north
to south by 12m east to west. This cairn forms part of a cairn cemetery
including two round cairns, two tor cairns and two ring cairns.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 24066
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 221
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, , Vol. 48, (1990), 36
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing